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Top 10 Cities for Real Estate Investing in 2024

January 11, 2024

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Real Estate Markets In 2024

Location has been heralded as the most important factor in any real estate investment. Every real estate investor wants to know the best markets to invest in real estate in the upcoming year. 

While opportunities can arise in any market, gaining insight into cities that are most likely to generate lucrative deals can prove invaluable. That’s why we’ve put together this list of our top ten rental real estate markets to watch out for in 2024. 

Whether you’ve resolved to embark on your investment journey for the first time or to fortify your existing portfolio in the new year, this article will help you channel your newfound energy in the optimal direction.  

How to Find the Best Markets for Real Estate Investing 

What makes a city a promising area for investing? Which factors do real estate investors think about when considering whether to invest in a new market?  

The best markets for real estate investing have a few things in common. They have high demand for rentals, leading to more tenant applications and higher quality candidates. Strong markets also have high rental rates, unhindered by local rent control and supported by predictable rent increases each year.  

Good markets also tend to have lower interest rates, affordable home prices, and landlord-friendly laws. Population and job growth are a good sign, as are competitive deals. Lastly, you want to see real estate appreciation over time—properties in good markets gain and retain value over time. 

In summary, here are the top factors to look out for when evaluating a rental market: 

  • High demand for rentals 
  • High rental rates 
  • No rent control 
  • Annual rent increases 
  • Low interest rates 
  • Affordable home prices 
  • Landlord-friendly state laws 
  • Population and job growth 
  • Appreciation 

Top 10 Best Real Estate Markets 2024 

The fastest-growing real estate markets have historically been centered around Sunbelt states like Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. While these areas are still seeing growth, the U.S. is also seeing movement away from expensive major cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.  

Instead, we’re seeing smaller Midwestern, Mid-Atlantic, and New England states like Ohio and Virginia also become promising markets for investing in 2024. As alternatives to expensive markets, these cities are attracting homebuyers with house prices closer to the national median and lower than national average mortgage rates. 

Although there are many other promising markets and everyone’s criteria are different, here are a few of our top picks for best real estate markets (not in order) for the coming year. 

1. Raleigh, NC 

Raleigh has been a successful city for real estate investors in the past year and will continue to be so in the new year. Average home values in Raleigh are up, with steep growth since 2016. Additionally, Raleigh is a buyer’s market – properties are becoming affordable to buy, while its population continues to increase. This means the city will see an influx of renters looking for housing, an ideal climate for investors.  

Raleigh is also part of the research triangle of North Carolina, home to some of the best universities in the country: Duke University, North Carolina State University, and The University of Northern California at Chapel Hill. Education abounds here, as do jobs and opportunity. Because its population is highly educated, Raleigh attracts funding for research and development, tech start-ups, healthcare institutions, and high-salaried positions. The local universities lead to a large student population and high demand for rentals near the universities. Unemployment rates are low, contributing to the success of local businesses as well. Investors and renters alike will find Raleigh’s high quality of life to be an excellent place for buying and living, respectively, in 2024. 

2. Charlotte, NC 

Charlotte topped the charts on Zillow and Realtor.com for the hottest markets a few years ago, and it is still one of the top housing markets for investors in 2024. Its success is primarily due to increasing rental demand, low vacancy rates, and high rent prices. Investors in Charlotte can buy large homes for only half the price as they would pay for the same property in big metropolises.  

Charlotte is also a major banking and financial center, with many financial jobs since the Gold Rush in the early 1800s. Corporate tax policies in the city are favorable for business owners, leading to great potential for commercial real estate investors. The city’s quality of life is high, with high affordability, vibrant nightlife, and mild weather, making it a great choice for real estate investors looking to buy property in the coming year. 

3. Memphis, TN 

Memphis is an attractive city for first-time home buyers due to its reasonable home prices. With typical home values around $144,500, Memphis’s affordability attracts homebuyers from expensive cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco. The city also has an inexpensive cost of living compared with high costs of goods and services elsewhere, leading to high returns for real estate investing and property flips.  

Tennessee also lacks a state income tax, which is another positive factor for investors and first-time home buyers alike. This no doubt contributes to the Memphis housing market being somewhat competitive, with homes selling in 45 days on average, according to Redfin

Beyond housing, Memphis has plenty more to offer potential tenants and homebuyers. Memphis’s business-friendly environment translates to high employment rates and job prospects. The sectors hiring at the fastest rates include construction, manufacturing, transportation, and information, home to companies like FedEx Corp., ServiceMaster, International Paper, and Walmart (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Local culture is vibrant and active, known for good music, food, and sports.  

4. Nashville, TN 

Nashville has been one of the hottest housing markets and destination locations for real estate investors for the last several years. It continues to be one of the best cities to buy real estate in 2024, with a competitive market and most homes currently selling in between 32 and 55 days. Homebuyers are flocking to Nashville from Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Washington, D.C., and many other expensive cities. 

Financially, the Nashville economy is thriving with steady population growth and over 110,000 jobs added since the COVID-19 pandemic, as of July 2023. In fact, Nashville ranks just behind Dallas, Austin, and Raleigh for job growth rate in large metros. Further, Nashville is a creative destination for musicians, academics, and artists. The city is a significant cultural hub for southern country music fans, featuring the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry. Between high rental rates, increasing returns, and overall quality of life, Nashville is attracting renters and investors. 

5. Richmond, VA 

Only a few hours from D.C., Richmond is a great option for many investors looking to buy in the area. Richmond’s growing population, low cost of living, and great school systems fuel this city’s real estate marketplace. Typical home prices are around $330,061, and property values are rising at a rate of 2.2% over the past year. Even at higher prices, Richmond’s renters can afford to rent here due to a healthy job market based on education and health services, construction, and professional and business services. 

6. Columbus, OH 

Found in central Ohio and home to the Buckeyes, Columbus is one of the many Midwest cities seeing major population and investment growth. Home values are currently up 4.4%, and the city is seeing many young families move to the area over more expensive cities. Economic growth and healthcare prosper here, with an overall GDP increase of over 50% in the last ten years and the Wexner Medical Center as a leader in medical research. The state of Ohio also has landlord-friendly laws regulating property management, which is a major perk for investors. Coupled with steady population growth, Columbus promises to be a city to watch out for in 2024. 

7. Cincinnati, OH 

Cincinnati joins Columbus as a promising Midwestern city come 2024. Located in the southwest corner of Ohio, Cincinnati joins other Ohio towns like Youngstown and Toledo as predicted best for buyers due to affordability, low mortgage rates, and high quality of life. Cincinnati is moving towards a seller’s market with higher average house prices ($225,274) and value growth quickly increasing up 6% the past year. In fact, Redfin classifies Cincinnati’s market as “Very Competitive,” with homes selling in an average of only 11 days and hot homes going pending in 4 days. 

Cincinnati is quickly becoming one of the most desirable cities for homeowners in the Midwest. And, it’s home to yours truly! 

8. Atlanta, GA 

Atlanta’s housing market has seen much growth in the past decade and continues to attract diverse homebuyers from across the country. Population growth and in-migration to Atlanta from other areas of the South fuels the city’s real estate market, even as prices creep upward into seller’s market territory. Employment growth in the city is concentrated in manufacturing, information, finance, professional and business services, and education/health services. Culturally, Atlanta is known for its beautiful parks, summer festivals, hip-hop culture, and the busiest international airport in the world. The city will continue to be a major player for real estate investing in the coming year. 

9. Austin, TX 

Texas’s capital is one of the hottest housing markets in the U.S. The city’s transformation into a rapidly expanding economic center and technology hub has put it on the radar for several years now. Featuring a robust job market, booming career opportunities, and highly educated residents, Austin is an ideal location for real estate investments in 2024. Rents and property values remain exceedingly high, while a high-earning workforce can afford high prices and great amenities. 

Further, Austin’s many start-up companies, universities, and technology industries/jobs are attractive features for homebuyers from the more expensive states of California and New York, who are looking for cheaper cost of living. Austin has ranked as one of the best cities to live in the U.S. for the past several years, and it continues to be a great spot for investing. 

10. Portland, ME 

This New England city is popular with out-of-state investors and has seen rent and prices both driven up in the last five years. Average property values in Portland, ME are at $522,252, up 9.6% over the past year. The city’s real estate market is currently very hot and overcrowded with high rents and lots of competition, so it may not be the easiest place for new investors to gain their footing in 2024. However, the city is certainly worth keeping an eye on if the market cools. A property located in this vibrant Maine city could attract renters with its great food, craft breweries, and outdoor attractions. 

Choosing a Market: Considerations 

It’s important to be meticulous when it comes to deciding where to invest in real estate. You must do thorough research to understand if the markets you’re interested in are best for your business. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you choose a market to invest in: 

  • How involved do I want to be in the property management?  
  • Do I want to invest in my city or long-distance? 
  • Do I have contacts in the city I’m investing in (property manager, maintenance contractors, etc.)? 
  • Can I easily travel to this city at least a few times a year? 
  • Can I see myself buying more properties here one day? 
  • Does the state have landlord-friendly property laws? 
  • What are the property tax rates in this city? 
  • Is the market a buyer’s or seller’s market? 
  • What is the market’s overall trajectory in the next five to ten years? 

Conclusion 

Understanding market trends and having a working knowledge of the best markets to invest in real estate is a smart way to start the new year. With more information about your options, you can be sure to make the best choice for your rental business. 

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